3 steps to your dog loving bath time

3 steps to your dog loving bath time

Bath time can be a fun, bonding experience between you and your pup. Unless, of course, your dog dislikes being bathed - in which case, it's no fun for anyone! But if your dog falls into that category, don’t despair! You can train your dog to like being bathed. Here’s how:

First, make it casual.

Don’t make a big deal out of bath time. Instead, keep the whole thing low-key. Lead your dog gently to the bathing area that you’ve already prepped--including priming the water to the right temp. Speak in low, soothing tones. Gently massage your pup to release tension and build your bond.

Then, make it rewarding.

Start with the smallest puppy steps. If your dog tenses up when you turn on the water, take a step back. Entice him into the tub without turning on the water, give him some treats, then let him leave on his own. Repeat until he feels comfortable being in the tub. Then, continue the treat party with each successive step. Don’t push your dog into something that makes him uncomfortable. Instead, break it down into tiny steps and reward like crazy along the way.

Finally, make it fun.

My dog Cooper was terrified of the bath, and getting him to stay still for even step one seemed daunting. The solution? Peanut butter wall. Take a spatula covered in peanut butter, smear it across the clean wall of your shower, then let him lick away. It takes ages and keeps him distracted while you do the bath. (Then, of course, wipe down your shower with a pet-safe cleaning product once the bath is through!) Now, when Cooper sees the spatula and PB come out, he dashes to the shower!

Let your dog set the pace. If you want him to go from disliking (or even hating or fearing) being bathed, let him decide how quickly to work. You may not get a full nose-to-tail bath in for several weeks or even months, but it’ll pay off in the long term.

Maggie Marton


Maggie Marton is a freelance writer based in Indianapolis. When not hiking with her two pit mixes, Emmett and Cooper, or playing with Newt the Cat, Maggie writes about them (and the pet industry) at ohmydogblog.com and maggiemarton.com.



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